Mug Painting at Glazed Expressions

I don’t buy too many Groupons these days, but when I do, they’re usually for trying new things, like mug painting!

Katherine, Joanna, and Gina joined me for a little breakfast at Summerhouse Santa Monica, followed by mug painting and mimosas at Glazed Expressions (yes, it’s BYOB!).

Now, you may ask, why mugs? Yes, I already have many in my cabinet. Yes, I could go out and buy one. But for the same price, I can design a mug myself with my friends. 

We made our appointment for a Saturday at 11 am, so we were the first in the shop to paint. Bobby greeted us, and led us to our table. She showed us which mugs were included in the Groupon price, and we all chose big, wide mugs. 

Once more people came, we all got a tutorial on how to paint the mugs, how to use different tools, etc. In looking at others’ mugs for inspiration, I really liked a mug that had an ombré effect. I committed to that style and chose three shades of pink.

Bobby gave me directions on how to do the ombré: using a sponge, start with the lightest color and paint upward. Blend the next color to make a smooth transition, and then do again with a third color. I did three coats of this, and sponge painted the inside of the mug the darkest color. 

The paint is lighter and more matte before its fired, but I could tell already I loved it. What I also loved is that we all took different techniques when painting our mugs, including using tape and toothbrushes to create different effects.

When I picked the mugs up this week, I was so impressed with our work. I used my mug for my Sunday morning coffee (don’t you dare think you’ll get a pic of that, haha), and it wasn’t too heavy to hold and fit all of the coffee I needed.

I love these types of experiences: doing something creative with good friends. I hate to admit (but it’s obvious) that I don’t get out too much, so I really enjoy the moments I do! (Nothing against my family. ❤️) 

Anyone interested in coming next time?

Glazed Expressions
717 West Armitage
Lincoln Park

   
    
 

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VIP Paints Candle-Making Class

For my birthday in October, I asked Nate if I could buy a Groupon for us to go to a BYOB candle-making class, and he said yes!

So we recently headed to VIP Paints–with a six-pack of Anti-Hero in hand. The studio is really intimate, with artwork on the walls and shelves filled with paintbrushes and supplies just waiting to be used. The tables were already set up when we arrived with mason jars and wicks, wick holders and thermometers, and more.

Our instructor was great–helpful, informative, and kept the class moving along in a fun, relaxed environment. First, we picked out our candle color and scent as the waxes were heating up. I went traditional with light purple with a lavender scent, while Nate chose hunter green (manly!) with a citron mandarin scent. We dropped the colored chip into the hot soy wax and waited for it to warm. Then, we each poured in a shot glass full of our scent, mixed it all together, and waited for the temperature to cool to 100 degrees.

Once cooled, the soy wax could be poured into the mason jars. An important part of this step was making sure to keep the wick straight. The color lightens as it hardens, and we were very pleased with our new candles! Had to wait 48 hours for them to fully harden, though, to ensure they were ready before using them.

Would I do this class again? Definitely, and I recommend it to you, too. It’s not difficult, yet an extremely fulfilling project. I love candles (one of my favorite gifts to give and receive), so it was nice to see how they’re made to see if I could possibly make them myself. I also haven’t explored Pilsen all too much, so it was a fun way to get out for date night (there were friends and groups in our class, too) and support a local business.

What comes with date night? Dinner, of course! Our experience at DeColores restaurant coming soon…

VIP Paints
1907 South Halsted
Pilsen

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Week #46 – Estrella Negra

So we already know how much I love Mexican food (as seen this week with my visit to Masa Azul), and I don’t think I’ve mentioned in the past 46 weeks how much I also love the WTTW show Check, Please!. This show is such a good resource for Chicagoans in search of that perfect gem that they might not have found otherwise. Enter Estrella Negra.

Nate and I watched the Check, Please! episode featuring Estrella Negra days before my birthday and decided to celebrate at the BYOB Mexican spot on Fullerton. The food looked delicious (it received high praise from the guests that week), the atmosphere was cool, and I think Nate knew I’d want to go somewhere new so I could share the experience.

We arrived on a cold fall night, and they had our table ready. The restaurant is decorated in design that looks like Dia de los Muertos art, and everything from the walls to the tables are covered with the eclectic décor.

I cannot say enough good things about how awesome our waiter was. He could not have been nicer and more attentive. He gave us time to make decisions, checked on us often, and friendly. When I’d mentioned we saw the restaurant on the show, he said that it very busy the weekend before (which is always great to hear!).

We brought our own wine, which we paired with out-of-this-world nachos (there was nothing left on the plate…nothing); spicy pozole soup that came with our meals; and I had pork tamales while Nate had enchiladas with mango. Everything was perfectly seasoned, and the portions were generous (I took one of three tamales home). The best part about all of the food was that it felt very homemade, like something your grandmother would make. But a lot of the menu items had a modern twist, like goat cheese (an added benefit for me!).

Another plus about Estrella Negra? Our bill. For all of that food it was about $30…total. We decided we have to come back again with our friends, to share the excellent food and hospitality with our friends.

Estrella Negra
2346 West Fullerton
Bucktown

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Need to catch up on my Restaurant Week? Check out: